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Special Report With Bret Baier

News/Business. Bret Baier. The latest news from inside the Beltway.

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Afghanistan 14, Obama 10, U.s. 9, Copenhagen 6, Dick Cheney 5, America 5, Kennedy 4, Clinton 3, A.b. 3, Barack Obama 3, Steve 3, Sarah Palin 3, David Oreck 2, Pelosi 2, The Economy 2, Truman Cell 2, Israel 2, Us 2, North Korea 2, China 2,
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  FOX News    Special Report With Bret Baier    News/Business. Bret Baier. The  
   latest news from inside the Beltway.  

    January 2, 2010
    2:00 - 2:59am EST  

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until then, keep it here on fox news channel. the most power full name in news, good night. next on special report, a look back at a very newsy year. >> starting today, we must take ourselves -- pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking america. >> the mission in afghanistan is undeniably difficult. and successful requires steadfast commitment. and insecures significant cost. >> we all stand shoulder to shoulder in the belief that healthcare reform is necessary and timely. >> american families and small business are still struggling as the white house response continues to fall short. >> bret: we'll reflect back on the biggest stories of 2009 with our all-star panel tonight. and look ahead to the new year. "special report" starts right now.
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>> happy new year. tonight we'll discuss some of the top headlines of 2009. including in-depth analysis of our top four stories of the year. afghanistan, healthcare reform, the economy, and, of course, president barack obama's first year in office. that is where our special begins. >> i barack obama will solemnly swear -- >> that i will execute the office of the president of the united states faithfully. >> that i will execuexecute -- >> faithfully execute -- execute the office faithfully. >> preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> so help you god? >> so help me god. >> congratulations, mr. president. [ applause ] >> bret: on january 20, 2009, barack obama became the 44th president of the united states. the first of african-american
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heritage. and it was a busy year for the president. he reached out to the world's muslims in a speech in cairo on june 4. on august 6, president obama's pick for supreme court justice sonia sotomayor became the third female and the first hispanic to sit on the u.s. supreme court. on october, 14 president's approval rate fell below 50%. we have a.b. stodder, and charles cradock. it was quite a year for the president. charles? >> it began with this wonderful festival of inauguration day. where i think the pride people held across the country was near universal. electing the first african-american was a transcendcation of the
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experience. it wasn't until a month later to joint session of congress that obama revealed how much of a leftist he is. remember in the transition, his appointments were rather centrist. his economic advisors and his national security team. but he made a remarkable speech that he said i want to do something and remake healthcare, education and energy. which meant turning america to more of a european social democracy than the america that we had known. the most radical speech the president has given in our lifetime. it was a bold, courageous declaration. he's not hiding his intentions but that's why we have had such a clamorous year with so much discord and really high, high decibel debate.
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>> bret: what about the style of governing and the overall tone? we will talk about healthcare later. but there was an inclination by this white house, by this president to turn over the keys to let pelosi and majority leader reid to run the show and how to get it done. >> it's interesting when he came in office so many terrible things happened that were beyond his control. in his control were promises that were unrealistic. the deference he gave congress, and the enormous influence he allowed the congress to shape his agenda, his important first year. has left him 50% in the polls, starting a tough year and heading to difficult mid-term election for the parties where they face losing seats if not the majority in the congress. and i think that was in his control. he has a lot of people working for him, very close advisors who know the
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congress well and worked in the congress. that was a decision they made early on to let the congress drive the legislative battles. that is where he has been hurt. >> bret: on the world stage, steve, his policy, his tone was to try to engage. by talking. >> he said in his campaign and the inaugural address his goal was to reengage the world. we were essentially going to start over. if the bush administration had been in obama view the imperialistic and arrogant talkers, lecturers rather than listeners, what he was going to do was change all of that. and i think in some ways he overestimated the power of barack obama. i think he had sort of grown accustomed to in his political life, in his short political life seeing people respond to him and see people respond to his words in the united states. obviously in the election, in a way we expect to see it in the world, but we haven't seen it when we spent the
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first year with him. >> bret: charles? >> it was an international affairs this resreset, the idea he was going to remake the world has not worked. he has had an unfortunate first year. one hope he is will learn from it. give you an example of the outreach, and the efact it's had. copenhagen in underreported story he arrives late and he wants an agreement with the chinese premier. but he makes a strong statement on arrival that the chinese have to allow inspections. the chinese are insulted as the meetings he scheduled with the chinese prime minister. the prime minister doesn't show up. he sends a deputy to the first meeting. then an even lower level associate to a second. same with iran, where obama is rebuffed again and again and again with the russians.
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he got nothing in return. you wonder how long this process -- and the promise always is well, we are planning to seeds, it takes a while. we have to relax america's image. when the world loves us again we get cooperation. it hasn't happened and you wonder how long he will wait. >> bret: a.b., his critics say he was naive on a number of decisions and a number of actions. do you think that the president has really grown or changed in his first year in office? >> the most interesting question as we head to next year is whether or not we will see heads roll, new chief of staff. new team. critics say that the his inner sanctum are too insular, and they've made mistake, with the bruising battles and it's time for change. it will be interesting to see if we see any change in the white house in how they make decisions, not only dealing with the different nations around the world and all the
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problems that charles mentioned but, of course, in what remains of his domestic agenda. what energy reform, what kind of financial services regulation, what will they accomplish this year. we will see if he makes decisions to make changes. >> bret: one of the new president first big move was signing executive order to close the terror detention facility in guantanamo bay, cuba. the plan was to get everyone out by this month. it appears that will not happen. almost certainly. outside of washington, big trouble for the democratic governor of illinois. on january 9, the state house voted to impeach rod blagojevich for abusing his power. including allegedly trying to sell the senate seat vacated by barack obama. ten days later roland burris was sworn in and he admitted trying to raise funds by blagojevich. blagojevich was removed from
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office january 29. burris says he won't run again. when we come back, the president decides to stimulate the struggling economy and ignite a year-long debate. qlú ñ2x
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>> bret: welcome back. the president started out february 2009 by announcing that the white house would have direct supervision over the 2010 census. well, republicans immediately said president obama was trying to politicize the census, which among other things determines congressional redistricting. in mid-february, president obama's one-time political rival hillary clinton began her first trip as secretary of state. clinton visited several key asian nations, including china, where she made headlines by saying the u.s. could not press human rights issues at the expense of economics. climate change and security. quickly our panel, a.b. what
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about secretary clinton as secretary of state this year? >> well, hillary clinton was not a terrific candidate, but she has been a terrific secretary of state. all the predictions about how she and her husband would muck up the policy agenda and become a big political story were wrong. it was shrewd of president obama who is very good to keep his enemies closer than close to have her in the administration. it was a smart move. she has proven her. she is a real homework doer and she apply herself and has done a good job. >> i agree it's not been the same clinton drama but i don't see the achievement.
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she was cut off with holbrook in charge as a czar and mitchell, and also obama taking control of the major issues himself. she had her embarrassing issue on russia on the reset issue. but most important when she went on the first visit to china and she actually played down human rights, a message for the obama administration through her it would apply across the board. the administration has been weak on this. it hasn't received anything in return. >> perhaps nothing the president did all year caused more controversy than the stimulus package. he signed the package february 17. the rest of the year critics complained it was a waste of money. there was constant bickering how many jobs it save and created. steve, save and created was a phrase we talked about a lot in 2009. >> it's striking they continue to use it even after
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it was mocked as widely as it was. look, this was a stimulus package that was rushed through. remember there were urgent votes. and then the president took the entire weekend off and only signed it when he came back. it was the stimulus package that was to have kept unemployment under 8%. it didn't have that effect. when you look lately, the latest gao report on the stimulus package and what it has done, only 22% of the funds were actually distributed. which at this late date is extraordinary given how it was rushed through. and finally, when you look at the numbers of bogus job reports and misreporting and inflated numbers, almost all of them going in one direction suggesting more job creation, more job saved than was actually the case, you've got a real problem for the president. >> bret: much more on the stimulus and the panel about the economy a little later. one day after the stimulus signing, the president outlined his plan to help struggling homeowners hang on to their property. called for bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of the
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loans in favor of the borrower. critics say the effort has done little to stem the foreclosure crisis. and in the ides of march, stinging attack from the president on former vice president dick cheney. cheney said president obama reversal of the bush administration policies on guantanamo bay and terror suspect interrogations made the u.s. more vulnerable to attack. it was the first of several public statements and comments cheney made last year, critical of the new administration. charles, was dick cheney really the point man for criticism when it came to the republican side? >> he was. and i think it was remarkable how successful he was. given the history and how the media and others have treated him. he actually -- there was a dueling speeches. the cheney speech and then obama spoke within a few hours of each other and cheney was the winner on that. i think the effect he had was that "a," he legitimized criticism of what obama was doing, which i think was rather lax. but secondly, i think it
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actually inhibited obama. he's kept some of the policies that the bush administration had in place, detention without trial rendition, he's tried to do the guantanamo, which he committed himself to the most egregious thing he did of course was the putting of sheikh mohammed, giving him a trial in new york. but there has been moderate and continuity, as if it's a tribute obama is paying to the bush administration, adopting indeed what it had denounced in word. >> bret: a.b., was vice president cheney effective? >> in a party without a leader, dick cheney stepped in and filled a void and became a passionate, articulate, forceful critic of the president. that -- wlos whether or not tha
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is unseemly is an open president. president george bush and his father alike decided to restrain themselves and not criticize the president. who is in his office under very difficult circumstances doing his job. and they thought that was following protocol. vice president -- former vice president dick cheney doesn't seem to agree with them. >> bret: quickly, steve. >> i don't think it was unseemly at all given the nature and scope and extent of the attack that president obama made starting with the first day in office continuing through the entire first year of his time as president. he has made scathing attacks, alleging the worst possible things about his predecessor. it has underpinned his rhetoric for the entire first year. only right that dick cheney is out there defending it. >> bret: up next, tax day 2009 brings with it a different kind of celebration. according to the epa, the air in your home can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. smoke, germs, viruses, allergens, pet dander,
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as commander in chief, i determined it's in our vital national interest to send 30,000 additional troops to afghanistan. after 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. >> bret: our second top story of 2009, afghanistan. president obama ordered an additional 17,000 troops to afghanistan in mid-february. but he still wasn't satisfied with the direction there. on may 11, defense secretary robert gates recommended a shake-up on the ground with general stanley mcchrystal taking over. and espousing philosophy of minimizing civilian casualties at all cost. october ended up being the deadliest month for americans since the war in afghanistan began in 2001. and on december 1, president obama as you heard there called for 30,000 more troops
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to be sent to afghanistan as part of the strategy to deal with the war. we are back with the panel. steve, what about afghanistan and the year that was 2009? >> we saw the president make good on the campaign promises. this is something he said as a candidate and said before he was a candidate. way back in 2002 he talked about the importance of the afghanistan war. he said it as a candidate. largely for political reasons he wanted to cast himself as something other than a pacifist, though he was strongly opposed to the iraq war, something that worked well with the liberal base of the party. he became president, ordered speech, and gave a speech where he said we are going to win because winning in afghanistan is critical to u.s. national security interest. he took a long time after appointment of general mcchrystal in may to make it in december and it was a time period that did damage, frankly. he took a long time to make a
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decision about whether we were going to continue and whether we were going to in effect double down. he finally made the right decision in december, but in announcing the decision what he said was this is still vital to u.s. national security interests. but we're going to get out in 18 months. it was the correct decision, but with an asterisk. >> bret: a.b., on the left, no one was happy with the decision, it seemed and it ended with house speaker nancy pelosi saying president obama has to make a pitch to house democrats to get the fund i funding for 30,000 american troops. >> she has gone to them one too many times to ask them to take votes they don't want to talk. but we know if you combine -- there are conservative majorities in the congress. house and senate. if you combine the conservative house and republicans it will prevail and he will get the problem. there will be a protest vote from those on the left and that will be fine. the interesting thing about the time that president obama took to rereview his
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afghanistan policy, it improved his standing in the polls this one area, the only area where his support has gone up this year. the only it's gone up is in the afghan policy in the strained review from the time of the karzai re-election there until the time of the west point speech. i think it's interesting that he has rallied a majority support now for his decision. of course, the left is not happy, but the left is not happy with president obama over many things from last year. and it was a tough year to rally the base for the election. >> bret: charles? >> if a democratic congress in 2007 and 2008 were to fund the iraq war, which it dispeased led by president bush who was also despised, there is no way in which democratic house and senate will deny obama the funds in the afghan war which democrats insisted year after year after year in the bush
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years was the good war, the right war and just war. obama took a long time and the fact he deliberated so long indicated how uncomfortable he was with the decision he ultimately took and that was aggravated by the fact immediately as we saw on the clip, immediately after announce ing thing thae i addition he said we're withdrawaling in 18 months. he said it's a hard date. it doesn't mean that everybody leave bus the beginning of what he called a transition. the problem is this, gori gueria war is on the will of the parties. it's not who has the most cannons but it's a struggle of wills. when the commander in chief gives the impression his heart isn't in it, "a," because of delay and decision and agonizing, to "b," because of the way he coupled an immediate withdrawal of announcement of escalation,
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the afghans on the war have to worry, are the americans going to stay or leave? if the americans are going to stay, i'm not going to help them. and it hinges on whether you support the enemy. >> bret: april 15 is not usually a day for a party, but last year tens of thousands of people showed up at anti-tax protests all across the country that were quickly dubbed tea party. start of a new grass root movement against big government and excessive spending. steve, the tea parties had an impact in 2009. >> they certainly had an impact. they were the precursor to the kind of discontent we saw expressed in the august recession, the august congressional recess with the healthcare, with the stimulus package, with the growth and government ushered in under president obama. they are harbingers of things to come with respect to the 2010 election. in particular because you are seeing voter intensity on the side of the people who don't believe in big got. not just the republicans.
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it's important to point out. it's republicans and conservative-minded independents who don't want government involved in their lives. >> bret: charles? >> it was interesting that it was ostensibly about taxes but no taxes has been raised. it was a sense, a correct sense on the part of a large number of americans that with the huge expansion of government that obama had promised and that he was effectuating in the stimulus and in healthcare there was going to be ultimately the increase in taxes. increase in government control. that is what the resistance is all about. we've seen a lot of it now in congress as well. >> bret: when we come back, the king of rippoffs have to pay the bililililililo
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time square. now, back to special report. >> welcome back to our special new year's edition of special report. here again our panel. steve hays, senior writer for the weekly standard. a.b. stoddard of "the hill" and charles krauthammer, as the american remembered their war dead on memorial day, korea's laters act with condemnation, underground nuclear testing and president obama called it threat to international peace. what about the north korea situation? >> well, back in the campaign, there was this tense exchange between president obama and his now secretary of state hillary clinton on the question of engaging dictators and engaging space and certainly one of the people
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that was at the center of this exchange was kim jong-il. the president made a commitment to engage dictators that's exactly what he's done. i don't think he's done it very successfully. what we've soon is a series, not just one, a series of provocation from north korea, one after another after another and a series of overtures of the obama administration sometime as if they're in concert with one another, a culmination of back and forth that ended with this final meeting just in recent weeks, the u.s. envoy, steven bossworth meeting with his counterpart bilateral meeting, which i think was a tremendous boost to the legitimacy of a corrupt regime. if you had to judge after the first year, korea is winning the first round of diplomacy. >> raising the pandemic alert to the highest level declaring that the h1n1 flu pandemic is underway.
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beneath the headlines the who says at that the alert reflected the geographic spread of the virus and its monument. a big fish was caught in new york, bernie madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison june 29th. madoff pleaded guilty to what is believed to be wall street's biggest ever investment fraud case of up to 65 billion dollars. the health care reform effort really picked up steam over the summer. on the night of friday, july 31st, house democrats pushed a reform bill through the key energy and commerce committee. >> you want to be-- you want to be led-- you want to be led out of here, you're welcomed to go. >> bret: meanwhile, all across the country, you remember this, emotions flared at town hall meetings often features democratic lawmakers trying to defend health care reform to outraged constituents. one lawmaker refused to hold any town hall meeting, citing
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what he called a lynch mob mentality. the house passed the health care reform bill and on christmas eve day the senate followed suit. that's our third top story for 2009. sure to carry over and be a topic of a lot of discussion this year as well. we're back with the panel. charles, health care reform appears to be on a track to the president's desk. >> and i think for him, it's a great achievement, it's a great accomplishment. there was a lot of criticism of him, which we heard earlier in the show actually, that he contracted out the big stuff and he let the pelosi and reid dictate what was going to be in the bills, he did that on stimulus, but he got his stimulus and he did it on health care and he got health care as opposed to the clinton administration which attempted writing it in the white house and didn't succeed. >> bret: you say he got it, but they still have to go through conference, you don't think that's going to be a problem? >> no, i think in the end it's going to pass. i can't imagine the left would sink this. the reason is for the left and people who believe in national
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health care, this is an unbelievable success. the absence of a public option is totally irrelevant. the bottom line of the bill is this, the federal government is seizing control of the stakes of the american economy through unbelievable amounts of regulation. the insurers are going to make money, but the insurers are going to be a proxy under complete control of the federal government with no independent action. they're going to essentially be changed into a utility, like the power company. and that means that it won't be a direct control of the feds, but it will be indirect which is something you would not have imagined, but that's going to happen and over time, you can amend the legislation and make it look a little more like what you have in canada or in england, but as of now, it's a tremendous achievement of the left. >> bret: a.b.? >> yes, it was interesting to see democrats through this battle fight for a government health care program and then lose that battle, but as it
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passed through both chambers at the end of the year, they were all talking like commencement speakers. today is not an end, today is a beginning. charles is right, it is a starting point for what the liberals hope will be eventually a government plan, they don't have the votes for it now. i don't think they'll have it in the next five or ten years, but they can continue to believe that. it is, it is a legislative accomplishment and i think that for the democrats who will have to spend the rest of this new year before the mid term elections selling this very hard to sell plan, that public support is very weak for and the benefits of which will not kick in for many years after taxes and other pain begins, it's a-- alternatively, if they had failed to pass it, i think it would have damaged the party for generations. i just think that the--
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they made the right calculation the failure to govern after all of the promises would have been devastating. >> bret: steve, as late as christmas week republicans were talking about eventually changing this or taking and stripping it out and democrats were saying, we've built this so it's here in perpetuity, at least elements of it, that needs two-thirds and three quarters vote. it's pretty substantial when you look at it. >> well, it is and if you look back at the history of the growth of government, particularly in the last century, what you have usually is a starting point, a legislative starting point and then massive expansions, bureaucratically and what this will have is an accompanying bureaucracy that will grow and grow and grow as people try to figure out how this monstrosity. we should not dilute this, a take over of one-sixth of this economy. the government running it, that's what this is. you have to have corresponding
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bureaucracies. in order to make that happen and that is where i think you'll see the dramatic growth in government. republicans i think are smart at this point given the politics of this, to campaign on repealing whatever it is that is repealable in this bill. we'll see if it's successful. >> bret: one word answer down the road, winners or losers for democrats in 2010. >> total loser. >> likely a loser. >> a big loser. >> bret: as our special look back at 2009 rolls on, a history making woman decides to quit her job.
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>> with this announcement that i'm not seeking reelection, i've determined it's best to transfer the authority of governors to lt. governor parnell. >> bret: with that announcement, sarah palin stunned the political world by
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resigning as governor of eye last ska. the former vice-presidential nominee later wrote a best selling book and ignited speculation whether she will make a run for the presidency in 2012. back with the panel, steve? >> well, i think the decision to quit was a mistake. it will be a mistake. if she wants to run for office again, people are naturally going to ask the question, is she here to stay? is she going to leave us or opt out of tough and important decisions and i think it's a fair question. i think the overall question for sarah palin is how does she translate the fact that she is a political rock star, it's an overused cliche, but it's exactly what she is. if you've seen her on the stump, she can connect with the crowd the way that nobody i've seen can connect with, with the possible exception of the president. she's ayn credible draw, you saw people standing in lines in freezing rain to get her signature on her book. >> bret: there is palin derangement syndrome in the media. >> no question. she's not going to get a fair
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shake. but on the other side of that, she has to do something, certainly more than she's done to show that she can be a serious policy player, still today when we read articles about sarah palin, whether she's crossed out john mccain's name on a cap or something having to do with her personal life and to a certain extent that's the fault of the media because that's the obsession. on the other hand she's not driving them to a policy point and if she's going to ever be a successful presidential candidate she needs to to do that. >> bret: although she's big on twitter and facebook. later in july of 2009, another exercise in public relations, the beer summit, remember this one? president obama and vice-president joe biden sat down in the roads garden with harvard university professor and the cop who arrested him. sergeant james crowley whom the president said acted stupidly during a confrontation with gates, actually said that about the cambridge police department in general. the president later backed off calling it a teachable moment.
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charles, what about the beer summit. >> class obama style. here he starts out by making a mistake, accusing cops of acting stupidly, sort of instinctive, sort of prejudice against the cops in favor of a professor. if you're a professor like him, if you live in academia like him, sort after instinct actual response, he realizes immediately it's a mistake and what he does is, he tries to act the philosopher king and rises above and says now we're going to teach the nation whereas he was the one who made the mistake. it's the same way with the philadelphia speech, discovered of course in the campaign that he'd had a gaff of 20 years by being in the church of a raving racist, jeremiah wright and gives a speech which essentially scolds everyone including his own grandmother of latent racism except himself and he rises above it and says a
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teachable amount and had the liberals throws up and comparing it to lincoln and cooper union. it's a clever pose, but i think it wears thin. he makes mistake like others, they're usual instinctive liberal mistakes and pretends he's going to teach us about this. i found a slightly annoying and wonder if the rest of the nation won't over time won't also. >> bret: slightly annoying. okay. now to serious-- >> i'm being restrained by the way. >> bret: okay. >> unusually highly annoying. >> bret: there you go. a serious topic now, the patriarch of the first family of democratic politics as they were known, massachusetts senator ted kennedy died august 25th after a battle with brain cancer. the so-called lion of the senate was a champion of liberal causes for most of his five decades. he was 77 years old. a.b., a lot of focus when this happened. health care, obviously, his big push. >> senator kennedy passed away at the end of august at the
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most painful time for democrats last year. they had not passed health care reform by august as the president had hoped and the leadership had hoped, they had not been able to do that while senator kennedy was alive. they went into the august recess with this incredible-- faced this incredible anger of this grass roots energy of these town hall meetings. they walked into it like a buzz saw, they didn't know what was going to happen and then senator kennedy's passing was sad at so many levels, not only because they felt they might not be able as a party to pass health care, but senator kennedy's passing really closes out a chapter in american history we won't see again. a chapter, a time when the two parties did work together. at least on the senate side, senator kennedy worked with senator mccain closely on health care, on immigration reform of course with president bush on education and many other policy areas,
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he reached out and stretched out and he was able, also, to bring recalcitrant democrats on board. to say, this is worth a meeting. this is worth just you listening to this and that era as we've seen through the fall and as health care made it through the chamber, is over with. >> bret: when we come back, the president picks up iconic award. 
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>> our final big topic of 2009, the economy. the first quarter of 2009 saw the economy decline at an annual rate of 6.4%. the government offered cash for old gas guzzlers during
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the summer sparking auto cash for clunkers you may remember, but the economy continued to hemorrhage jobs. the unemployment rate hitting 10.2% in october. the highest figure in 26 years. in early december, the president hosted a jobs summit at the white house and this was the year, as you see the dates there on the timeline for the economy. we're back with the fan. a.b., an overview? >> well, i think that this, here we sit still one in five american workers unemployed or underemployed. we're looking at a recovery where the economy's going to grow, but we're not going to see improvement in unemployment soon enough. this is still a huge, huge problem. we have deficits growing, we have to continue to provide unemployment benefits. we have no revenue coming into the government at the rates we need to cut into the deficit. this is the political problem that the democrats face. if, for some reason, unemployment were to turn
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around in time for the democrats, either in 2010 or 2012, they could make a case that with financial services regulation, that with health care, health care insurance security, that that would be a component of economic security and that they were going to move the-- everything in the right direction. that only could be accompanied by a change in unemployment. if we don't see that, it's over. >> bret: yeah, charles, it's a big "if". >> look, and the stimulus only a fifth was spent in the year '09. the majority of the money is going to be dumped in 10. call me cynical, there will be money falling from the skies. will probably prevent from having a double dip recession. president who have recessions in the first terms are lucky and get reelected. reagan had the same deep recession, he had it in year
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one and lost seats and year two, got a rebound and elected with a landslide. obama could have that luck. he's going to lose senators and members of congress in '02, but his reelection, i think, is on track. the presidents who have their recessions late like carter and the first bush are extremely unlucky and go home earlier. >> yeah, i think that comparison is apt particularly with president carter, you have to have concern with the economy and in the white house for president obama. he's undertaken so many policies that are the antithesis of what i think many economist would suggest that you do in such a recession, they're anti-growth policies. you're talking about raising taxes on small business owners at a time when small business owners can least afford to pay additional taxes and talking about raising payroll taxes. we still haven't necessarily seen the end of the real estate troubles. there's, i think, smart economists who are predicting,
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if not a collapse of commercial real estate, at least some serious problems coming in the months ahead. so, i'm skeptical that we have seen the worst of this. it may be the case that the rest of the stimulus fills in the gaps and has this stimulative effect that we haven't seen with the first of it, but i'm skeptical. >> bret: is there a sense that president obama is going to start adopting republican ideas, tax cuts, incentives the things that he talked about toward the end of 2009? >> well, he's doing that, i think piecemeal. he's trying, he want to cut targeted capital gains rate cuts. you know, you're doing this in pieces, but when you've got this mammoth health care bill that he's talking about. still the unresolved issue of cap and trade or what u.s. energy policy is going to be. you talk to small business owners particularly those in the midwest and they'll say we don't-- there's too much uncertainty for us to do the kind of hiring at that we might ordinarily do in this kind of economic environment and in addition to certainty, you're
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talking about anti-growth policies that are keeping us from having the resources to hire the people we would in anycase. >> bret: the horrible story at the end of the year shall the massacre at fort hood texas an army psychiatrist with a history of radical behavior. there were a number of people killed in that shooting. president obama became the first sitting u.s. leader to accept a nobel peace prize in 90 years during a ceremony in oslo, norway on december 10th, the president used the speech to look for increased support in afghanistan and around the world and a week later the president was back in western europe, joined many other world leaders at the u.n. climate change summit in copenhagen. although no formal treaty was made there, the president pledged the u.s. would make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. charles, what about
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copenhagen. >> it was a failure, a bad one. obama was saved by the timing because the senate started the process in which health care was passed and try and overshadow the news of copenhagen. he achieved nothing in copenhagen after he went and risked prestige on that. the bottom line, the members who are in the-- in copenhagen, all countries who voted at the end, on the agreement that obama had reached with a few of the larger countries, who voted to note the agreement, which is you know, it's not even approved, it's not even to say favor to note, which is a negative. the lesson here is that if you try to do something large using the u.n. apparatus, where all 190 countries are involved, you will get absolutely nowhere. i hope obama has learned that. >> bret: coming up, we'll take a look at what you
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>> welcome back, let's go around the table quickly for predictions in 2010. charles? >> as of today, the estate tax is zero and in exactly a here jumps to 50%. all through this year, rich uncles across america are going to be sleeping unsoundly and i predict in december a rash of unexplained fatal accidents involving rich uncles and others who have
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money sacks. >> bret: happy new year, okay, a.b. >> well, unfortunately, the economy is going to drive all of the news, i think, this year. also, voter anger over the economy and the government spending and i think, obviously, afghanistan, we're going to see some casualties and we're going to see how america accepts obama's new policy in afghanistan. >> bret: steve. >> i think we're going to spend most of the year talking about iran. the failure of u.s. diplomacy there and what i think is almost an inevitable strike by israel. we'll see what happens in the world after that and we'll see whether key question will be whether president obama will support israel when they strike or whether he won't. >> bret: i don't usually make predictions, i'll make one, white house rahm emanuel drops out and runs for the state of illinois and tom daschle chief of staff. that's it. thank you for our show, thank you for making special report the number one political news show on television.

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